Which jobs can get car insurance discounts?

Jobs that qualify for auto insurance discounts with some companies include:

Why does your occupation affect car insurance rates?

For car insurance companies, rates are all about risk. People who are statistically less likely to file a claim pay less for car insurance, and it turns out people in certain jobs (like medical professionals, teachers and first responders) are less risky, according to the statistics.

"People within [certain] professions have a lower frequency of claims," says Pavel Levitanus, a Farmers Insurance agent in Laguna Hills, Calif.

These workers tend to work in the communities where they live, so they probably don't commute long distances. First responders may speed down the road in emergencies -- but not in their own vehicles, and they tend not to work from 9 to 5. Think of the firefighter who works 24-hour shifts.

"They're not driving out there in rush hour every day," Country Financial spokesperson Jeff Muniz says.

That means they're at lower risk for accidents.  Country Financial gives up to a 5% discount to first responders, including firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians and paramedics and up to a 10% discount to full-time K-12 teachers in most of the states where it does business.

Discounts are also good PR.

"These are people who protect us and take care of our kids. They've given so much to our community," Muniz says. "This is a way we can give back to them."

Geico is among companies that offer discounts to military service members and members of several military professional organizations. Retired members and those on active duty, as well as National Guard or Reserves members, can qualify for up to a 15% discount.

Which insurance companies offer occupation discounts?

Discounts vary by occupation, insurance company and state. Some insurers, such as Farmers, offer discounts for a long list of occupations and areas of study. Others offer discounts to only a few or none at all. A company might get regulators' approval to offer a discount in some states but not in others.

Country Financial's occupation discounts, for instance, are not available in Alaska, Georgia or Tennessee, and its discount for teachers is up to 5% in Kansas, versus 10% in other states where it's available.

Some jobs score bigger discounts than others. Mid-Century Insurance Co., a Farmers subsidiary, offers 18% discounts to practicing physicians, dentists and veterinarians in California, and 12% discounts to registered nurses, physical and occupational therapists and chiropractors. Certified Public Accountants, college professors and full-time K-12 teachers in California get 18% discounts with the company, while lawyers and judges, architects, librarians and pilots get 12% off.

Rules for qualifying for discounts also vary by field. To qualify for Mid-Century's discount in California, doctors, nurses and other health care providers must have a license to practice; a degree alone doesn't suffice. But folks who toughed it out in college and earned at least a bachelor's degree in engineering, math or science qualify for the 18% engineering or science discount, even if they work in other fields.

Levitanus says to be sure to ask about professional and business group discounts when you get car insurance quotes. You might qualify, even if you're retired, he adds.

In many cases, these are not discounts you will see listed on your policy; rather, the reduction is a part of your base rate. You simply pay less because of your occupation.